Americans say they are less likely to support tightening gun laws than they were over the summer.
A Gallup poll released on Monday shows a nine-point drop in support for making gun laws “more strict” since the same survey was taken in June. It also shows a three-point uptick in the number of Americans reporting they have a gun in the home. While a majority of respondents report supporting stricter gun laws and having no gun in their home, the gap for both shrunk significantly.
The results reflect a pair of trends in American gun politics.
Support for stricter gun laws tends to peak after high-profile mass shootings and recede a few months later. At the end of May, the murder of 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, drove two-thirds of Americans to support new restrictions. But nearly six months and one federal gun law later, support for more restrictions dropped to 57 percent.
The wake of the pandemic and civil unrest has also produced record gun sales in the United States over the past two years. While sales have begun to cool over the past few months, the results of that buying spree are now being reflected in Gallup’s polling on who owns guns. 45 percent now report having a gun in the home, and 46 percent report having one on their property. 33 percent report they personally own the firearm in their house as opposed to a different member of the household. Those measures are at their highest level since 2011, and the polling company hasn’t consistently found gun-ownership rates that high since the early 1990s.
The rising trend of gun ownership combined with weakened support for more gun control could make passing new restrictions more difficult at the national and state levels. Republicans gaining control of the House of Representatives was already going to make new federal gun laws a tall order, but the new polling could complicate things even further. However, the poll, conducted between October 3rd and the 20th, may not reflect the effect recent high-profile shootings at the University of Virginia and an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will have on public opinion.
Additionally, the poll shows Americans still support stricter gun laws at a higher rate than when the poll was done in October 2021. It suggests that, despite the recent drop in support, Americans remain more supportive of tightening gun restrictions than before Uvalde.
Gallup conducted the poll among a random sample of 1,009 adults. It has a margin of error of +/- four percentage points.